Psychologists have identified 4 ways friends and colleagues interact.

But only 1 of them contributes to personal growth.

Here it is (and how you can be an incredible friend):
Our friends and colleagues shape our lives.

Jim Rohn famously pointed out:

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
In early life and throughout middle age, we spend a lot of time with friends and co-workers (h/t @sahilboom)
But how can you tell if your friends and colleagues average you up?

Listen to how they respond to you when you talk about POSITIVE news.

Psychologists code 4 types of responses to good news.

And only 1 strengthens relationships and supports growth.
Think of how people might respond on the following matrix:
Within that matrix, there are four types of people:

The Killjoy
The One-Upper
The Buzzkill
The Champion
Let’s break them down.

To bring them to life, let’s pretend you were sharing the following positive news:

✨✨Your passion project side-hustle is making enough money that you can turn it into a company & pursue it full time.✨✨

Active + Destructive

-Focuses on the negative
-Leads to embarrassment and guilt

“What industry is your company in again? That is super competitive.”

“You will need a ton of insurance for you know how expensive that is?”

“Are you sure you want to take all of that risk? Most startups fail.”

Passive + Destructive

-Co-opts the conversation
-Changes the topic
-Turns the focus away from you

“That’s great. It sounds like the company my friend started.”

“But his is already incredibly profitable with a much bigger vision.”

Passive + Constructive

-Supports but in an understated way
-Doesn’t make a big deal out of the news shared

(Research shows the Buzzkill reaction is most damaging to the relationship)

“That is nice to hear but...”

“Maybe we can talk more about it another time.”

“Can we finish the task at hand?”

Active + Constructive

-Authentic interest
-Enthusiastic support
-Asking questions

This is the golden quadrant - Active Constructive Response (ACR)

“I’m so happy to hear you have found a way to support yourself financially AND do what you love!”

“Tell me about it! When do you start full time?”

“How did you spot the opportunity?”

“What are you most excited about?”
Reflection question:

When friends share good news with you, how do you respond?

Are you a Champion to them?

Or more of a Killjoy, One-Upper or Buzzkill?
To encourage those you care about, and of course only in the case of truly GOOD NEWS (otherwise deliver tough love), be enthusiastic and ask questions when they share.

Life is short.

Being a Champion supports their growth.
Want to get a sense of the quality of YOUR support system?

1. Share your own good news
2. Listen closely for Champions
3. Spend less time with Killjoys, One-Uppers and Buzzkills

Choose your circle wisely. Your growth depends on it.
If you enjoyed this thread:

• Follow me @mattschnuck for more threads on EQ, entrepreneurship, and growth.
• Retweet the first tweet to share these principles of personal growth and relationships

For fellow psychology nerds interested in the underlying papers tied to this research, check out:

Langston, C, (1994). Capitalizing on and coping with daily-life events: Expressive responses to positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1112-1125

Gable, S. L., Reis, H. T., Impett, E. A., & Asher, E. R. (2004). What do you do when things go right? The intrapersonal and interpersonal benefits of sharing positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 228-245.
For more on positive psychology and research-based methods for personal and professional growth, check out:

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This is really interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing!